Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interview with creator of 'Creature Cravings' Julie Holmes

What is the concept behind your show?
There is something particularly special about glimpsing a bird of prey on the horizon or catching a rustling of leaves in the nearby bushes. 
I am a fauna fanatic and I know that not everyone would feel a sense of rapture like I do when I capture a glimpse of creature in my nearby vicinity.
 BUT they are there! Even if you don't know they are or choose to ignore them. 
In Janine Bourke's book 'Nest' she says "We tend to take birds for granted, in the landscape or in our neighbourhoods. The presence of birds communicates the health of a place. When they're gone, it's as though there's a hole in the sky, in the air, an absence of beauty and grace, and vivid chatter or haunting cries are replaced with eerie silence."
This is just a reminder, a gentle prod and peck….. You might even make a new friend of two…

What can people expect to see in your exhibition?
Prints, prints, PRINTS! 
Creature Cravings is a collection of Linocuts and Etchings with a little bit of Screen Printing, Bunting and Collage thrown in.

What inspires your work?
Anything from the natural world. Give me a cup of tea and a David Attenborough doco and I'm one contented little bird.
I live on the South Coast so walks on the beach are a good way to get out and have a break. There are a pair of White Bellied Sea Eagles that live nearby and no matter how lost or frustrated I feel with some work I'm doing they always make me feel better.

Looking at other artists' work always helps to think in a different way too. 
At the moment I've been looking at David Hockney's landscapes, Sally Mann's 'Deep South' photos and Ben Quilty's new paintings. But there are too many to name! 
For printmaking inspiration there is always Kiki Smith or William Kentridge and for drawing ideas there's Aida Tomescu, Anselm Keifer, Mike Parr…….the list goes on!

I read A LOT. Sometimes I read when I should be doing other things. I'm particularly good at procrastinating…….
I love Kids books from authors like Oliver Jeffers, Emily Gravett and Tove Jansson's Moomin books. They have a sense of humour and the drawings are fantastic. 
Fiction is important too. Sometimes a sentence or phrase can pop up that magically fits with what I'm thinking about in my work. Angela Carter, Gerald Durrell and Yann Martell are just a few names in a big pond!

Can you tell us a bit about the artistic processes you use to create your work?
I approach making an image in a very experimental way. I like to play with different materials and compositions as I put the plates down on the press just before printing. Sometimes I'll bolt out the door at the last minute to grab some gum leaves or plant matter to emboss or do a rubbing to collage on. I can get quite impatient so things happen very quickly and spontaneously. 
I am a bookish person (possibly an understatement….) and have a large collection of animal and bird books that I take images from for prints. I like cropping the creatures back so they are almost ambiguous, a peep hole into another world.

We realise that you have a fondness for animals, what draws you to capture them in art form... And do you give them names like pets?
I love animals. There are so many varied and wild creatures out there that sometimes we can find it hard to imagine they even exist. 
They teach us things about the world around us and are indications of how much things are changing in our environment. 
I use them as metaphors for the human condition, as reminders of the fragility and beauty of life.
I don't think of my creatures as pets, they are characters in their own right and naming them is the best part! Charles Dickens is always in the back of my mind - now there's a man who could name his characters! Polly Toodle, Pumblechook, Uriah Heep….They roll off your tongue. I always have to say them aloud to decide which name is best….Ms. Drusilla Duck, Mr. Eustace Hare, Mr. Reginald Badger, Miss Matilda Tawny Frog Mouth….
I'm interested in how we anthropomorphise animals, giving them human qualities and characteristics to understand and empathise with them. Language is the thing that separates us.